Skip to main content

Cooking with Quinoa for Dummies: Book Review

Cooking with Quinoa For Dummies (1118447808) cover image

You would literally have to be living under a rock to not have heard about quinoa.  In case you have been sleeping under boulders, quinoa is a seed that cooks up like a grain and is gluten-free and high in protein and fibre, making it perfect for people on a gluten-free diet, vegetarians and vegans, or anyone interested in healthy eating.  It is also kosher for Passover, which has made that holiday much more tolerable for many Jews!  It has been a staple in parts of South America for ages, but just recently gained popularity here.  I have been using it as an alternative to rice or other grain, as well as baking with quinoa flour at Passover and using quinoa flakes for baking and cooking.

A few weeks ago, I was sent Cooking with Quinoa for Dummies to review.  It was written by Cheryl Forberg, a registered dietitian in the U.S. who has worked as the nutritionist for the NBC show The Biggest Loser.  This is not much of a selling feature for me as I can't stand that type of reality show, however she is apparently also a James Beard Award-winning chef and New York Times bestselling author.  That definitely impresses me more!

Now, I personally don't use cookbooks that much, because (1) if I'm searching for how to make something specific, it is often quicker to search online, and (2) more often than not, I prefer to create my own recipes.  Nevertheless, I like to look at them now and again for inspiration.  What's nice about this book, is that it is not just a cookbook, it is also a guide for how to cook quinoa and ways to use it.

Forberg provides a lot of information about the origins of quinoa, something the sociologist in me appreciates.  She also includes a lot of information about it's nutrition and the health benefits.  In addition, there are recipe sections that include: soups, salads and appetizers, main courses, snacks and desserts.

Overall, I wasn't too impressed with the recipes.  A lot of them are fairly standard recipes into which she incorporates quinoa for no apparent reason.  For example, adding quinoa into a quesadilla filling.  Why?  If you have cheese and whole grain tortillas, you've got protein and fibre, and if you have a bean filling with a whole grain tortolla, you've got protein and fibre.  So I'm not sure why you'd want to add quinoa to that.  In other cases, the recipes are basic pastas that she swaps out regular pasta for quinoa pasta.  You can do that with any pasta recipe, I don't really need someone to show me how to do that!  A lot of the recipes also use prepared quinoa polenta, a product that I've never seen in Canada. 

Although I wasn't inspired by most of her recipes, I did learn a few new ways to use quinoa, that had never occurred to me before: using cooked quinoa as a crispy coating for meat, tofu or vegetables, and using cooked quinoa in baked goods (rather than using quinoa flour).  I value new ideas, so I'm excited to try these, but, likely will incorporate the techniques into my own recipes.

All of the recipes are gluten-free, however, only one chapter is devoted to vegetarians and vegans while there are entire chapters devoted each to seafood, poultry, and meat.  This book is ideal for someone who is not yet familiar with quinoa, and/or someone who is attempting a gluten-free diet, and is concerned about nutrition quality.  So many gluten-free commercially-made products are nutritionally void, not to mention crazy expensive.  This book can help you develop a repetoire of gluten-free, nutritious meals for you and your family.  If you are a quinoa dummy, you just may want to pick up a copy!

Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free, however, all opinions expressed on this blog are my own.


Popular posts from this blog

Blackfly Coolers: Product Review

Summer is over! Well, at least if you're a student. Officially it doesn't end for a few weeks, and it certainly still feels like summer. Yeah, I hate it. This f*cking hot, humid weather needs to end NOW! We made the most of our last weekend of the summer with our annual trip to the CNE on Friday, with a crowd of friends. It wasn't unbearably lot, thank goodness, and the girls and their friends had a blast on the rides.  Saturday I had to work, and Sunday was errand day. Monday we took the girls berry/apple/pear picking but didn't last long due to the heat. I organized the house to prepare for the construction workers starting back up yesterday, while Adam took the girls for a swim in our neighbourhood pool.

Yesterday was the first day of school. Grade 2 and Grade 5. Yep, the girls are growing up.  We are fortunate that the girls don't have much anxiety about school, they are so much more confident than I ever was as a kid! But now, in the midst of our reno chaos, …

Live Clean

I have been committed to living a healthy life through nutrition and fitness for over 20 years now.

It took me a lot longer to pay attention to what I was cleaning the house with and what I was putting ON my body as opposed to IN it.

When I got pregnant with Big A I started reading about the toxins in a lot of commercial cleaning products and switched to the all-natural, eco-friendly stuff. When I became pregnant with Little A, I switched to all-natural, eco-friendly personal care products.

I am all for being environmentally friendly for the good of the planet, but to be honest, what really motivates me to make these types of changes is concern for my family's health.

You may remember I mentioned giving up my favorite perfume a while back because it apparently is full of nasty chemicals. I switched to the "Red Tea" scent made my Roots, which is supposed to be somewhat "natural". This was only after a number of trial and errors. I first found a woman in …

Panang Curry

When we go out for Thai food, one of my favorite things to order is the panang curry. But there is no doubt when this dish is made in a restaurant, it packs a hefty wallop of fat, sodium and calories.

My version is lightened up, but still rich and flavourful and it is super simple to make.

Traditionally, panang curry is made with either beef or chicken, but I made it vegetarian, using dried seiten (wheat gluten) I got at T&T a few weeks ago. If you are not sensitive to gluten, this is a great source of vegetarian protein. If you cannot find it dried, you can get it prepared at most health food stores. Alternatively, you can use tofu, or the more traditional chicken or beef options.

This dish also doesn't usually have much vegetable matter in it, but I love how yummy veggies taste when simmered in this sauce, and it makes this a healthy one-pot meal. Use whatever veggies you prefer or have on hand.

Protein of choice (2 cups seiten or 1 lb organic tofu, boneless skinless ch…